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Petrol and Diesel – Which Pollutes More?

The debate about petrol and diesel and which one pollutes more has been going on for years, but opinions vary across the world. This is not surprising because there are various factors to consider on each side. History also has a significant part in the deciding process, so incidents related to both petrol and diesel vehicles have to be considered as well.

For example, years before the diesel emissions scandal unfolded, diesel was the number one option for drivers. Even environmental groups were advocating for diesel use because it was friendlier to the environment.

Today, authorities, environmental campaigners, and governments around the world are actively discouraging the public to purchase and drive both petrol and diesel-powered vehicles. The majority are campaigning for a switch to electric vehicles or EVs.

However, not everyone is prepared to shift to EVs, especially finance-wise. This is why the petrol vs. diesel drama rages on.

Why diesel was preferred over petrol

Before Dieselgate, diesel vehicles were marketed as the environmentally safer alternative. They had several advantages over petrol, specifically:

  • More mileage
  • Higher efficiency
  • Lesser carbon dioxide or CO2 emissions, especially when travelling consistently on the same distance and highway
  • Lesser GHG or greenhouse gas emissions

These were all forgotten when the Dieselgate scandal involving the Volkswagen Group happened in September 2015.

What is Dieselgate all about?

Authorities in the United States accused the German carmaker of adding defeat devices to their diesel vehicles, particularly Volkswagen and Audi models. These devices are illegal because they are used to artificially reduce emissions when a vehicle is in regulatory testing. When the device senses that the vehicle is about to be tested, it immediately lowers emissions to levels that match the limits set by the World Health Organization.

As soon as the vehicle is taken out of the lab and driven in real-life road conditions, it releases excessive volumes of NOx or nitrogen oxides. NOx emissions have a long list of health effects, including respiratory ailments, cardiovascular disease, and mental health conditions. Anyone exposed to NOx will suffer from various illnesses.

Volkswagen recalled all the affected vehicles and paid the necessary fines. They’ve spent billions over the years paying off fees and compensating affected drivers.

The situation worsened after other car manufacturers were caught also allegedly using defeat devices. The list includes popular brands Mercedes-Benz, Renault, BMW, and Peugeot. Japanese carmaker Nissan was also recently accused of benefiting from the defeat devices. Nissan emission claims were filed in 2020.

The entire petrol vs. diesel scenario immediately changed because of the scandal. Authorities gave their votes to EVs and kept diesel vehicles out of the picture as much as possible, while also creating programs intended to reduce toxic emissions.

Petrol vs. Diesel

As already mentioned, diesel has several advantages over petrol. However, petrol also has good points.

First off, petrol may not have better mileage and efficiency or lesser CO2 emissions, but it has lesser air pollutants and fine particles. One example of air pollutants is NOx, the group of gases at the centre of the diesel emissions scandal.

Fine particles are tiny elements that can easily get into the lungs and penetrate the cells. They can cause health conditions such as cardiovascular ailments cancers, and respiratory illnesses.

Working together, NOx and fine particles can lead to early death. Numerous cases of premature deaths around the world have been reported year after year, and the majority were caused by exposure to air pollution.

Since petrol releases lesser volumes of toxic fine particles and NOx, it is better than diesel in this aspect. Diesel vehicles, especially those equipped with defeat devices, emit high amounts of NOx. They also significantly impact climate change.

It’s important to note, though, that there are now petrol engines that use direct injection for reducing the consumption of fuel. Using this system makes petrol vehicles increase fine particle emissions. This complicates matters more when it comes to choosing a cleaner option.

Furthermore, the size or weight of a vehicle is also essential in determining the polluting factor of both petrol and diesel. Although they’re more efficient than petrol vehicles, diesel is heavier and bigger. Many drivers also prefer to use diesel when driving long distances, so they emit more toxic pollution than petrol.

Ultimately, choosing a lesser pollutant between petrol and diesel depends on various factors and characteristics. If you focus on emissions alone, petrol vehicles will come out as the safer alternative over diesel because they emit lesser amounts of fine particles. They’re also often used for shorter drives and are smaller and lighter.

If you would ask authorities and environmental experts, though, they would choose only one type – electric vehicles. EVs do not emit CO2, fine particles, or GHG. They do not expose drivers to dangerous NOx emissions.

The devastating impacts of exposure to NOx emissions are what implored authorities to encourage drivers of defeat device-equipped vehicles to file for a diesel claim against their carmakers. Unlike choosing between petrol and diesel, there is no other option but to bring these emissions-violating manufacturers to court.

Is my diesel claim for everyone?

If you have a diesel-powered vehicle but are not sure if it has a defeat device, visit ClaimExperts.co.uk first before talking to an emissions expert. They have all the information you’ll need to start your emission claim the proper way. You deserve to be compensated.

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